april 4, 2014
Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials pronounced him dead at 6:27 p.m., about 13 minutes after he was injected with a fatal dose of pentobarbital.
As he waited word on his U.S. Supreme Court appeal Thursday, Sells was kept in a small holding cell just outside the execution chamber in Huntsville, said Jason Clark, spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Sells was quiet, reserved and accompanied by a chaplain. He had access to a phone, Clark said.
Lawyers for Sells argued, in part, that, “the increasing scarcity of execution drugs — and consequent concerns about the quality and states’ desperate efforts to keep the source of drugs secret — have become the central feature of botched executions and Eighth Amendment concerns.”
He later pleaded guilty in Bexar County to strangling 9-year-old Mary Beatrice Perez, who was abducted from a Fiesta event at Market Square in 1999. District Attorney Susan Reed agreed to drop her bid for a second death sentence, instead settling on life in prison, in exchange for the plea.
Court records show Sells claimed to have committed as many as 70 killings in states including Alabama, California, Arizona, Kentucky and Arkansas.
The families of both slain children were on a list to witness the execution. Kaylene’s witnesses included her father, brother and two grandmothers. Also present were the mother and grandmother of Mary.
Sells’ execution is the fifth lethal injection this year in Texas, the nation’s busiest state for the death penalty.